Need help with Paris/London itinerary

Dec 7th, 2007, 08:49 AM
  #1  
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Need help with Paris/London itinerary

We're going to London/Paris for our 25th anniversary. It will be my first time in both countries. We'll be there for 10 days total, and we're trying to figure out how many days to stay in Paris and London, and whether there are some good day trips that we can take outside those cities. Any recommendations or advice would be appreciated!
nancy1234 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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With no further details I'd split the time equally as 5 days in each city would work (I probably wouldn't day trip as a first timer).

However,more details would be helpful eg. what time of year are you going, do you speak French, any historical/museum/art or food preferences?

highflyer is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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With such limited time I'd recommend getting an open jaws aka multicity ticket so you fly into the UK and out of France - you'll also avoid Air Passenger Duty and the One Bag rule

I'd also book your Eurostar ticket ASAP to get the best prices
alanRow is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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Land in London, Eurostar to Paris, fly home frm Paris. Easier to land and get acclimatized, get rid of jet lag, in London versus Paris (no language issues). I'd say 5 days in each (which really works out to 4.5 in London, since 1/2 first dya is getting setttled and you will be bit jet lagged, and Paris you will lose most/all of last day getting to airport early for your flight. Start with that, and you can adjust if you find that there is more you want to see in either city.

Being both large and diverse cities,you will not come close to seeing or doing eveything that may interest you. So, read over the Fodor's Destination planners at this site, maybe buy/borrow some travel books, and make a list of things that interest you. Also search here , as itineraries are a common topic. Post a sample trip plan for both cities, and we'll help you out. One of the first things I do as I list museums, Eiffel Tower, Tower of London etc..is to note what days they are open and hours of operation.

Since you have not been to either cities, I'd not do any day trips unless there is someplace other than the 2 cities that are a reason for you going. You will easily fill your time!
Michel_Paris is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Thanks for the great advice, especially about not doing the day trips. While we want to experience as much as possible during our trip, I don't want to sacrifice quality for quantity. As for the language, I took three years of French in high school and one year of college French, so I have some brushing up to do. Rather than spending a lot of time in museums, I'd prefer to spend our indoor time in restaurants and wineries. Any recommedations on restaurants? Since we don't know when we'll have a chance to go again, we'd like try out the best Paris and London have to offer.
nancy1234 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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When it comes to restaurants, I'll be the first to note that "best" restaurants means what to you...food, ambience, highest rated, most Parisian,etc..?

And, you'd best post what budget range you expect to pay for the "best". Some people get a bit wobbly when the prices for some restos in these cities are mentioned.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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5 days in each city is a great plan.

With only 5 days though, I would definately skip day trips for this trip - especially as it is your first time in each (you'll have enough time just to skim the highlights)!
bardo1 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Like Alan says it's smart to book Eurostar train tickets as early as you can as you can literally save hundreds of bucks on round trips sometimes over just showing up.

www.eurostar.com for prices in pounds or euros - often the best deals

but in the U.S. Raileurope markets them and sometimes can be cheaper - there is very little correspondance to fares in U.S. and in UK or France so check both. In U.S. i always refer folks to BETS 800-441-2387 for their expertise and lack of RailEurope's stiff mailing fees. Can book up to nine months in advance and have fare guaranteed. Eurostar trains now take the great % of London-Paris travel and are getting fuller and fuller. Try for a weekday for the chance of lowest fares IME
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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As for the restaurants, we'd like advice on Fodorites' favorites, regardless of budget. And we'd like to try a different type of cuisine each night. Thanks for your help!
nancy1234 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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With such limited time you won;t do much more than scratch the surface in either city.

Versailles is the classic day trip from Paris - and is worth it.

For a day trip from London it really depends on what your interests are. Most popular - depending on what your like - Windsor Castle (the Roayls), Warwick Castle (true fortress complete with dungeons), Stonehenge (prehistoric monuments), Bath (Roman Ruins as well as Cathedral and exemplification of the Regency period). Plus lots of others depending. You need to tell us.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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"Thanks for the great advice, especially about not doing the day trips. While we want to experience as much as possible during our trip, I don't want to sacrifice quality for quantity."

Try this idea on for size: there is nothing more "significant" or "important" or "quality" inside either city than what is outside of them. No matter what you do, you will only scratch the surface of two countries, and I think the best way of sampling them is to spend some time in the cities and some time out.

Otherwise, you risk coming away with the impression that Paris is representative of French culture, and that London is typically British. Actually, they're probably both more like New York than the countries that surround them.

Get out of town. Stonehenge and Versailles are both half-day trips.

From Waterloo station to Salisbury (Stonehenge) is an hour and a half ride, and it takes 44 minutes to get to Versailles from St-Michel Notre-Dame.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 09:32 PM
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Robespierre and nytraveler: Thanks for the input. Your arguments are exactly why we were thinking about taking day trips outside the big cities. We're from the West Coast, and your analogy of a visitor to NYC works well with how our impression of the French or English culture would be based on our trips to Paris or London. I just wish we had more time! And I wish we knew if/when we would have a chance to go back. But we don't, so we're hoping to make the best use of our time while we're there!
nancy1234 is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 04:24 AM
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"you risk coming away with the impression that Paris is representative of French culture, and that London is typically British"

That's because they are. The New York analogy is quite false: both capitals account for about a quarter of their country's population and dominate every aspect of their national lives to a level unparalleled in any other large of medium-sized country.

If you want to see the real Britain or France, stay in the capitals. If you want to see how people really live in those countries, leave the centre and visit the London or Paris suburbs (just go to the end of the Tube or RER lines) - infinitely more typical of how the average Frenchman or Briton lives than a Provencal or Cotswold village. If you're realy interested in how everyday life is lived read lots of newspapers, listen to talk radio, watch local soaps of an evening and buy lots of popular magazines while you're in London and Paris.

Now, if ten days in two cities sounds a bit much, by all means take a trip out to Versailles. DON'T take a trip to Stonehenge, unless you're seriously interested in prehistory, because it probably disappoints more visitors than any other well-known attraction inthe world. But there are loads of other pleasant English day trips - but they're all to what are in effect London's outer suburbs. Just don't delude yourself you're seeing some kind of "real" England denied to you in London.

I've never convinced myself the "New York's not really America" theory has much validity in America. So where is it? New Yorkers wave flags, legalise guns and drive huge cars just like the tiniest backwood in Iowa. And how can a town no-one lives in be "realler" than a country's biggest city? What people actually mean is that New York is different from everywhere else in America. But then so is everywhere else in America.

Be that as it may: the theory's a complete red herring in Western Europe.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Question for PalenQ concerning eurostar tickets: What does "BETS" in the 800# stand for?

Thanks
anthemion is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Budget Europe Travel Service

http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id6.html
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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nancy1234

Please notice that flanneruk first says that the capitals (where 75% of the people don't live) somehow embody the quintessence of British and French culture, then suggests that if you want to experience the real countries, you should ride to the end of the Tube/RER line.

If you can make sense of this, good luck.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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the capitals may not 'represent" the country but in 5 days it is the best you can do .
taking a half day trip
outside the city to a touristy place does not offer much of an "insight"
Just enjoy the 2 fantastic cities and leave other parts of the countries for another trip.
p.s.
New York may not be "America", but how many Europeans visit Kansas???
danon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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<Please notice that flanneruk first says that the capitals (where 75% of the people don't live) somehow embody the quintessence of British and French culture, then suggests that if you want to experience the real countries, you should ride to the end of the Tube/RER line.>

guess flanneur did not go to Harvard after all!
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 08:01 AM
  #19  
ira
 
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Hi N,

>the restaurants, we'd like advice on Fodorites' favorites, regardless of budget...

Is $400 pp for dinner within your budget?

You might find these threads helpfularis Superthread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34519236

100 Great Things to Do in Paris
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...=2&tid=1277898

Degas’s Paris Walks
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34712768

Jacquemart-Andre’ Museum http://tinyurl.com/p9pol

Re: Is Paris really France?

No. You can visit Paris, or you can visit France. The French recognize that.

Is London really the UK? Not as different as Paris is from "France Profond", but it is different.

I suggest that, with only 10 days, you resign yourself to visiting two of the most interesting cities in the world.

>how many Europeans visit Kansas???

How many people visit Kansas at all?



ira is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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I'm thinking it is a question of semantics whether the countryside is more "real" than the city. If one says the most typical resident of a country lives in the suburbs of the country's capital, as Flanner says, that might be correct.

But I think most tourists are not looking at it from that viewpoint. When they say they want to see things that are typically French, they are more likely to be speaking in terms of geographic area than of population. The small village in the countryside is more typical of the area of France than the city and its suburbs are. When you look at a map of France, you see mostly countryside. When you look at a census, you see mostly city and suburbs. I would suggest that more tourists are thinking of the map perspective than the census perspective.

In any event, it is a very different feel in Paris than in the small village or town or even provincial city, and in order to experience both, one must get outside the city. Which isn't to say that that must be done by everyone or on every trip. Sometimes I want a city trip, sometimes one in the countryside, sometimes a variety.
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